Overview of Florida Mortgages
The Sunshine State draws partiers and retirees, nature-lovers and culture vultures. Florida mortgage rates tend to hover around the national average. Some Florida counties have conforming loan limits that are higher than the standard $417,000 limit.
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Florida Mortgage Rates Quick Facts
Historical Mortgage Rates in Florida
Florida has the fourth-largest population of any of the 50 states, with a sizable mortgage market to match. Florida mortgage rates are around average compared to other states in the U.S. 2016 Florida mortgage rates are on average higher than 2015 Florida mortgage rates.
Florida Historic Mortgage Rates
|Year||Florida Rate||U.S. Rate|
Florida Mortgages Overview
Anyone shopping for a mortgage in Florida will want to be aware of some of the particularities of the Florida mortgage market. There are two Florida counties that have conforming loan limits above the standard $417,000 limit. They are Collier County, where the conforming loan limit for single-family homes is $448,500 and Monroe County, where the limit is $529,000.
Conforming and FHA Loan Limits by County
|County||Conforming Limit||FHA Limit|
30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates in Florida
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the garden variety home loan. Most mortgages in Florida, as in the rest of the country, are 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. You can get a fixed-rate mortgage with a 15-year term, but in that case your monthly payments will be higher because you’ll be paying off the same loan in half the time.
The average Florida mortgage rate for fixed-rate 30-year mortgages is 3.74%.
Florida Jumbo Loan Rates
What’s a jumbo loan, you ask? Throughout the U.S. the “conforming loan limit” is generally $417,000. Home loans in excess of $417,000 are “non-conforming” or “jumbo” loans. They can’t be sold on by your lender to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That, plus the fact that they’re larger loans, means jumbo loans are more risky for lenders to take on and therefore come with higher interest rates.
Certain areas are more expensive than average, however. In those places, the conforming loan limit is higher than $417,000, which means you can get a bigger loan without being bumped into the jumbo loan category. Only two Florida counties have conforming loan limits above $417,000. In the other counties, you’ll have to take out a jumbo loan if your mortgage is greater than $417,000.
The average Florida jumbo loan rate is 4.04%.
Florida ARM Loan Rates
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a mortgage whose interest rate can change over the life of the loan. ARMs generally come with introductory interest rates that are lower than the going rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans. That introductory rate will hold for a period of 1,3,5,7 or 10 years, depending on the terms of the loan. After that, the lender can adjust the interest rate of the loan, which generally means an upward adjustment. The amount by which the interest rate on an ARM can jump is capped in the loan term, so you won’t wake up to a 30% mortgage rate.
However, during the mortgage crisis many homeowners struggled to keep up with the payments on their adjustable-rate mortgages. Florida, which went through a foreclosure crisis during the last recession, was home to plenty of borrowers who came to find their monthly mortgage payments unaffordable. Anyone can fall behind on their payments, even with a fixed-rate mortgage, in the event of a job loss, divorce or major illness. But ARMs are inherently more risky than fixed-rate mortgages if you don’t plan your budget for the highest rate allowed in your mortgage term.
Florida Mortgage Resources
If you need help with your Florida mortgage there are resources available to you. If you meet the income and home purchase price requirements you can qualify for the Florida Housing First Time Homebuyer Program from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The program offers 30-year fixed-rate first mortgages to first-time homebuyers. Well, it doesn’t offer the mortgages directly but it sponsors those mortgages through participating lenders. Separate programs offer help with down payment assistance and closing costs.
Not a first-time homebuyer but still want help? You may still qualify if you’re a veteran or if you want to buy in a federally designated targeted area (a.k.a. a historically depressed area deemed a target for development).
Need down payment assistance? Through the Florida HHF Down Payment Assistance Program, first-time homebuyers can get up to $15,000 for help with a down payment and closing costs. Not all Florida counties have access to this program, so check online before you set your heart on it.
Something called the Florida Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) provides an Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP) that provides the lesser of 12 months of mortgage payments or $24,000, paid directly to the mortgage lender. Unemployed or underemployed homeowners who are on their first mortgage are eligible for the program, which will also pay up to $18,000 in mortgage arears. Eligible borrowers can combine the two programs, for a total benefit of up to $42,000.
A separate Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment (MLRP) Program offers a one-time payment to your lender that will cover up to $25,000 in past-due mortgage payments. Floridians can apply for either program online.
Underwater on your loan? You may qualify for the Florida HHF Principal Reduction Program. The program provides up to $50,000 in principal reduction. The goal is reduce the loan-to-value ratio on Florida homes to at most 100%. In other words, it can take you from being underwater on your mortgage (your loan exceeds the value of your home) to having your head above water. To qualify, the loan-to-value ratio on your first mortgage must be over 125% and you must be current on your monthly payments, among other requirements. The program is available in all Florida counties.
If you’re a senior who’s in too deep on a reverse mortgage (a loan to get cash from your home equity) you can get help from Florida HHF. Florida HHF runs an Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program that provides up to $25,000 for reverse mortgage arears, helping seniors stay in their homes.
All of the above programs are offered free of charge, so walk away from anyone who says he or she will charge you to apply for help through a Florida HHF program.
|Resource||Problem or Issue||Who Qualifies||Website|
|Florida Housing Finance Corporation||Offers down payment assistance, closing cost assistance and low-interest rate mortgage loans.||Low-to-moderate-income homebuyers.||www.floridahousing.org|
|Florida Hardest-Hit Fund||Offers unemployment mortgage assistance and a mortgage loan resinstatement payment program.||Florida residents with a total household income that's below 140% area median income (adjusted for household size at time of financial hardship).||https://www.flhardesthithelp.org/|
|Home Affordable Refinance Program||Refinancing.||Single family homes and condos that fit within lending loan limits.||http://www.harp.gov/|
If the worst happens and you face foreclosure, the process will be a lengthy one. Florida does not allow non-judicial foreclosure, so your lender will have to take you to court. Florida is a “recourse state.” Translation? Say your home is foreclosed and you owe more to your lender than the home is currently worth. The lender can ask a judge for a “deficiency judgment” to go after you for the difference between what you owe and what the lender will get from selling the foreclosed home.
Florida Mortgage Taxes
The Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction is one of the most famous tax deductions in the country. It lets you deduct mortgage interest you paid during the tax year from your taxable income when you file your federal income taxes. Can you claim the same deduction when you file your Florida state taxes? No, because Florida doesn’t have a state income tax.
However, there are other mortgage-related Florida taxes worth knowing about. There’s a transfer tax any time you’re preparing documents that transfer an interest in real estate. That tax is $.70 per $100 of the money paid for the property. The one exception to this is Miami-Date County, where the rate is $.60 per $100 of value. These rates apply to single-family residences only. If you sell a property that’s not a single-family property there is an additional surtax of $.45 per $100. It’s customary for the seller to cover transfer taxes and fees in Florida.
In Florida, you’ll also pay a mortgage tax of $.35 for every $100 of your mortgage. This is known as a “documentary stamp tax” and applies to mortgages, liens and other debt-related documents. The buyer is typically responsible for this tax in Florida.
Now for some good news. Something called the Florida Housing Mortgage Credit Certificate Program can give you a tax break for being a homeowner. The program helps first-time homebuyers save money on their taxes by claiming up to 50% of their paid mortgage interest each year as a tax credit on their federal income tax return. The credit is capped at $2,000 per year, but you can deduct all your interest using the MITD. Remember that tax credits directly reduce your tax liability, while tax deductions reduce your taxable income.
Florida Mortgage Refinance
Want to refinance your Florida mortgage? Check to see if you qualify for the Principal Reduction program described above. If so, you can reduce the principal you owe on your loan and then refinance to get a lower monthly mortgage payment. It’s a two-step process that can save you serious money on your mortgage.
If you don’t qualify for the Principal Reduction program you may qualify for federal help through HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program. Even if you’re not seeking help from a special refinance program, you’ll probably still want to shop around for a lender when you’re ready for refinance your mortgage. You don’t have to use the same lender who provided you with your first home loan and you may get a better refinance mortgage rate by switching lenders.
Florida Mortgage Rates
|Percentage of Homes||74.70%|
|Average Property Value||$145,935.85|
|Percentage of Homes||15.90%|
|Average Property Value||$149,777.68|
|Percentage of Homes||7.00%|
|Average Property Value||$130,569.13|
|Percentage of Homes||2.40%|
|Average Property Value||$95,838.24|
See Mortgage Rates in These Other States
Best Places To Get A Mortgage
SmartAsset’s interactive mortgage map highlights the best counties in the country (and in each state) for securing a mortgage. Hover over counties and states to see data points for each region, or use the map’s tabs to view the top counties for each of the factors driving our analysis.
Methodology For many people buying a house means securing a mortgage. To determine the best places in the country to get a mortgage we looked at four factors: overall borrowing costs, ease of securing a mortgage, cheap property taxes and cheap annual mortgage payments.
To calculate the overall borrowing costs, we looked at the expected costs over the first five years of a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment, including closing costs. We calculated the ease of getting a mortgage as the ratio of mortgage applications to actual mortgage originations (secured mortgages) in each county. We based annual mortgage payments on the annual principal and interest payments for a $200,000 loan in that location, using average mortgage rates in each county.
Finally, we ranked locations based on these four factors, and then averaged those rankings, giving equal weight to each factor. The areas with the lowest average rankings are the best places to get a mortgage.
Sources: Mortgage Bankers Association, US Census Bureau 2015 5-Year American Community Survey, Informa, Bankrate, government websites, SmartAsset